Milan eliminates Napoli in Champions League and could face city rival Inter

Milan eliminates Napoli in Champions League and could face city rival Inter

NOS Football

AC Milan has reached the semifinals of the Champions League for the first time since 2007 after a 1-1 draw at Napoli. That was enough for Milan, having won the home game 1-0 last week.

In the semifinals, archrival and city rival Internazionale, which is 2-0 ahead against Benfica, may await Milan in action tomorrow.

Big question beforehand at Napoli was whether Nigerian top scorer Victor Osimhen could start. The striker was missing due to a muscle injury in the outward match in Milan. Last Saturday, he made his comeback a quarter of an hour before time against Hellas Verona in the league, then Napoli did not score (0-0).

The fans in Naples breathed a sigh of relief tonight, as the 24-year-old Nigerian was fit enough to start.

Napoli stronger, Milan misses penalty kick

The start at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona was for Napoli, who played full on the attack in search of the equalizer over two games. Other than blocked shots or shots that went wide, the home side did not get any further.

In the 21st minute, Mário Rui fouled Milan attacker Rafael Leão. One Portuguese on top of another. The ball went to the spot and Olivier Giroud, the French national team’s all-time top scorer, was allowed to touch down for the outside chance. To the delight of the home crowd, Alex Meret saved the effort.

Moments later, Giroud had a chance to make up for his mistake. After a feint, he was able to shoot freely from about 12 yards, but his low effort was again saved by Meret.

Meret saves Giroud’s penalty kick

After just over a half-hour player, Napoli suffered two ticks in a short period of time. Both Matteo Politano and Mário Rui had to come off after injury, former PSV player Hirving Lozano and Mathias Olivera came in.

Dribble Leão

Napoli geared up against the club they are leading by 22 points in the Italian league, yet the goal fell on the other side.

Leão received the ball midway through his own half in the 43rd minute, dribbled past several players and laid it off ready for Giroud, who now with no goalkeeper in goal really couldn’t miss: 0-1. In injury time of the first half, another goal by Osimhen was disallowed due to hands.

Rafael Leão cheers after his dazzling assist to make it 0-1

In the second half, Napoli had a chance after only 35 seconds through Chvitsja Kvaratschelia, but his shot went over. The Georgian, one of Italy’s tastemakers all season, has been struggling with his form in recent weeks. In the 58th minute, he showed something of his class by slipping past two players, but his shot again went over.

Napoli also misses penalty

Napoli did not get beyond pinpricks, until the team received a penalty ten minutes before time after hands from Fikayo Tomori. It was the chance to make it exciting, but Kvaratschelia’s penalty kick was saved by Mike Maignan, a similar save to that of his colleague in the first half.

In the 93rd minute, Osimhen headed in the 1-1 from nowhere anyway, the goal, however, came too late. Napoli had another opportunity on a cross, but the hopeless ball proved right away the end of the match and led to an outburst of joy at Milan.

Kayleigh Williams